Primary Instrument: Vocal
“Carmen has a beautiful voice with a distinct sound and style… definitely unique! Her beautiful tone of which she has a superb command lends itself to challenging music that most singers could not perform successfully.”
- Lisa Thorson
Vocalist, composer and associate professor at Berklee College of Music
Italian vocalist and composer Carmen Marsico is an active performer in the New England area. She currently leads her own quintet performing her compositions and jazz standards originally arranged. Her music uniquely blends her Italian tradition with contemporary jazz and Brazilian music. Leading her own quintet in 2003, after graduating from Berklee College of Music with magna cum laude, Carmen recorded her debut CD 'Sogno' which has received excellent reviews in jazz magazines such as All About Jazz and Cadence Magazine.
Who made Carmen discover jazz and push her to pursue it was jazz vocalist Lilian Terry (recordings with Dizzie Gillespie, Tommie Flanagan) with whom she studied with for almost two years. After only two months of studying jazz, she was chosen to be the singer of Little Town Jazz Band, a big band directed by trumpet player Maurizio Scomparin (Claudio Roditi, Kenny Wheeler, Claudio Fasoli), and started performing in several different theatres in the north east of Italy as well as touring in Europe. Meanwhile, Carmen attended jazz workshops organized by Manhattan School of Music where she worked with great performers and mentors like Mark Murphy, Sheila Jordan, Vivian Lord- Alge, Cameron Brown, Vic Juris, Harvie Swartz and Eliot Zigmund.
Wanting to establish her career as a professional musician and after having been awarded a scholarship from world famous and prestigious institution Berklee College of Music, Carmen moved to Boston in 2001. While at Berklee she studied jazz composition and improvisation with Kevin Mahogany, Bob Stoloff, Mili Bermejo, Ed Tomassi, as well as Lisa Thorson who became her musical guide and inspiration. In the spring 2002 Thorson invited Carmen to perform, as soloist, with Many Voices, a musical project based on jazz improvisation. During the same year she auditioned for one of the most important concerts that Berklee organizes annually and among hundreds of singers Carmen was selected to perform the amazing Wayne Shorter composition ‘Infant Eyes’. At that time she also started performing and, later on recording, with composer and bandleader Björn Wennås. Carmen participated on two CDs with Wennås’ group, 'Early Summer Sketch', 2002, and the recent 'Static', 2005. 'Static' has so far received extended airplay in North America. In March 2003 Björn Wennås Quintet was chosen to perform at the 'New Music Festival' in Boston, an event that celebrates new composers pushing the edge. In 2004 the composition ‘Love song’(sung by Marsico) from the first CD mentioned was nominated for Best Original Jazz Vocal Composition for the Just Plain Folks Award, Hollywood, CA. In addition, Carmen was recently selected to be one of the finalists in the International Massimo Urbani Award 2005.
Carmen has sung in venues such as Berklee Performance Center, the Zeitgeist Gallery, Ryles Jazz Club and David Friend Recital Hall, just to say a few. She has performed and collaborated with acknowledged musicians such as Bruno Råberg (George Garzone, Mick Goodrick, Bob Mintzer), Phil Grenadier (Kenny Baron, Chris Potter, Kurt Rosenwikel, Larry Goldings), Lisa Thorson (Kenny Wheeler, Sheila Jordan Harvie Swartz, Jerry Bergonzi) and Mark Shilansky (Luciana Souza, Clark Terry, Kenny Wheeler), among others.
Among various different projects, Carmen is one of the leader/singer and arranger of NewPoli, an Italian folk group with two percussionists, three singers, a guitarist and an accordion player. The septet’s main goal is to rediscover and bring to attention the traditional folk music from South of Italy such as villanella, pizzica, tammuriata and tarantella.
Currently Carmen is also active as voice instructor in four schools well known in the Boston area: Noble and Greenogh School, Brimmer and May School, Advent School and Norfolk School of Music.